With four of the five members of the council - Mayor Don Kendrick, Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Rosales and Councilmembers Robert Rodriguez and Donna Redman - are past planning commissioners, they knew the process involved in development standards, conditional use permits and building code requirements.
On Monday night, the council conducted a public hearing in which
Rick Landi, owner of Quality Control Services at 1530 White Ave., appealed a staff and Development Review Committee recommendation on Monday that he remove an illegally constructed facility on the property.
The staff committee comprised of the community development director, city engineer and a member of public works department representative is the approving body for any precise plan review application for commercial and industrial properties in La Verne, noted principal planner Eric Scherer. The committee approved construction of new outdoor structures for the industrial property, but required the carport structure built without a permit be removed.
Although Landi admitted he was aware a building permit was required, he did not get one. After a neighbor complained about the illegal structure, the planning staff and the deputy fire marshal conducted an on-site visit and confirmed a 550-foot structure had been built without permit, was attached to a semi-truck/trailer and had electrical service.
Landi later refused staff access to the property to update conditions there and also admitted he refused to schedule a later meeting with staff, as requested, to resolve the situation.
Landi viewed the staff recommendation as only to "spank" him.
Rosales pointed out, "If I can't see the structure, I would have difficulty making a determination if it made or didn't make code" to explain staff's desire to actually inspect the structure.
Redman added, "If staff had had access to the property before this meeting, the outcome of its recommendation might have been different."
The council unanimously agreed it didn't wish to styme any businessowner's success but noted that permits, codes and standards are in place for the safety and protection of the public.
"Refusing to get permits or allow access indicate unwillingness to comply with building and safety codes," Rosales said. "You've put up roadblocks that may be insurmountable at this point. "
City Manager Bob Russi offered an alternative solution, suggesting an extra on-site inspection be conducted. In accepting Russi's idea, councilmembers advised Landi to remove all the materials around the illegal structure to improve visibility and inspection by staff, allow access and to cooperate with staff. Otherwise, they warned, the denial would only be postponed.
"We want to see you succeed, but we have codes for every building in town," Carder said.
And, Redman added, "The idea is not to punish. That's not how things operate in this city. "
The matter returns to council on May 6, as recommended by City Attorney Robert Kress.